A lucky Calvert City couple got a once-in-a-lifetime thrill Sunday afternoon when they won the 2019 St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway, netting them a new, 3,100-square-foot house in Marshall County.
When Melvin Odom's name was drawn, he couldn't believe it.
"I thought surely the young boy was going to say some name I've never heard of and he said my name," the 67-year-old retired pharmaceutical representative said. "I'm still waiting for somebody to tell me that my ticket was void."
Melvin and his wife, Marlene, were overjoyed and recounted cheering in the house they've been renovating not far from the Dream Home site in the Hill Creek subdivision.
"It feels almost otherworldly. It'll sink in, by the end of the day, I guess that this is happening to me," he said. "We're renovating a house that we just bought about a month ago so we're going to more than likely sell it."
The pair moved to the area four years ago from Tucson, Arizona, to be closer to Marlene's family.
A topic of discussion throughout the afternoon was Marlene's faith that the Melvin's name would be drawn.
"We've been buying tickets for these for 10 years, but I actually thought this time -- the whole time -- that we were going to win it," she said.
"She had faith and I had none," Melvin added of his wife's premonition. "She's good that way."
The house is valued at $375,000 and the pair hopes use the funds from its sale to pay off their own home while also giving back.
"I would probably give that much to St. Jude right out as a donation because I've always believed in the charity," Melvin said. "Some of the proceeds are going back to St. Jude's because without them we wouldn't be able to do this."
Melvin is a longtime supporter of the St. Jude charity, which puts money towards the treatment and research costs of children suffering from cancer so that families aren't saddled with heavy medical bills. This year's west Kentucky edition of the Dream Home Giveaway fundraiser raised $760,000 for the charity.
"You always think about buying tickets to things like this and, of course, we're proud to have won, but the main thing I was happy about is that all of the proceeds go to St. Jude," Melvin explained. "I've visited St. Jude before in Memphis and it was an awesome place. It is something to see because they're more than a hospital.
"All you see are children jaundiced and with no hair and every one of them is smiling. That tears your heart out like it does to mine to see that and know what they're going through. It's unbelievable what they do."